He rides his bike at a very chill pace while finding a good spot. After settling down, he assembles his equipment, brews coffee and starts painting.
Along with some friends, we had a chance to enjoy cups of coffee with watercolor painter Erwin Mallari. He decided to bring us to Valenzuela’s Tagalag Fishing Village for a relaxing morning trip.
“Part ng trabaho ko as visual artist is madami akong nakikitang lugar,” he said. “Gusto ko madaming dala. Gusto ko may peace of mind na dala ko lahat ng gamit anytime, pwede ako huminto, pwede ako mag-pinta, dala ko lahat ng materials ko.”
(Part of my work as a visual artist is to see many places. I want to bring many things. I want to have a peace of mind that I have all my things anytime, that I can stop, I can paint and I’m with my materials.)
Erwin told us that he decided to get a bicycle in 2017 because he wanted to explore places without using a car. Walking can only take you to short distances so he bought himself a folding bike. He eventually got a Surly Long Haul Trucker because he realized that he wanted to go to far destinations by cycling it from his home in Malabon.
“Gusto kong madaming dala kasi gusto ko mag-camp, mag-luto. Gusto ko magdala ng lahat na,” he said.
(I want to bring many thigns because I want to camp, to cook. I want to bring everything.)
True enough, he can bring many things while riding his Surly. When we met him, he brought a pannier, a small sling bag and a front rack that carries tripods and wooden boards. That’s his common gear when he’s cycling to paint for a day.
However, when he’s going on long-distance trips, he even carries a tent, hammock and small cooking equipment, among other things. Erwin can prove that you don’t need to bring a car for your camping adventures.
This artist goes to Bulacan, Valenzuela or Rizal for day trips. He usually paints in short formats but sometimes brings a camera to shoot landscapes and paints it in a larger canvas at home.
“Iba ‘yung dynamic na makikita mo ‘yung actual scene kesa ‘yung photograph lang kasi ang pinaka-basehan ko doon ay construction ng paligid,” he said. “Importante sa akin ‘yung mood, atmosphere, kung ano yung natatandaan ko noong nagpunta ako ng actual.”
(Seeing the actual scene brings a different dynamic than a photograph where you can only base the construction of the enviornment. What’s important to me are the moods , the atmosphere and the my memory of the actual place.)
He’s glad that he got hooked on cycling because he gets to be productive with his art while incorporating it with his creative process.
“Masaya ako sa bike ko. Kaya ‘yung anak ko na 6-month old pinangalan ko sa kaniya Rando,” he said.
(I’m happy with my bike. That’s why the name of my 6-month old son is Rando.)